Thursday, January 20, 2005

Buncha stuff today, possibly more later, too.

More on Robson Bonnichsen

Robson Bonnichsen was destined to be an archaeologist. At seven years old, he boasted one of the largest arrowhead collections in his hometown of Filer, Idaho, and in his high school annual, his friends predicted that he would one day become a famous archaeologist.

When Bonnichsen died in his sleep on Dec. 25, he was serving as the director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M and was world renowned for his research after spending 44 years in the field of archaeology.

"When Rob got into that business when he was a kid, archaeology was a disorganized neo science," said Bill Bonnichsen, Robson's brother. "Rob's work had a lot to do with making archaeology a much more rigorous and well respected science."

Oh, great headline guys. . . .Archaeologists excited over old toilets

Excited archaeologists are sifting through the contents of 150-year-old New Zealand toilets to get a better understanding of the everyday lives of early settlers.

Although there is plenty of oral and written history, there are gaps which can only be answered by lifting the lid on the sanitary habits of pioneering families, they say.

About 30 of New Zealand's leading archaeologists arrived in Wellington on Thursday to start a five-week project to collect and document information from historic sites along an inner-city bypass route.

Must. . . not. . . .make poop jokes. . . . .

Iron Age artefacts found in dig

Wooden and stone artefacts dating back up to 3,000 years found at a flood prevention site in Lincs have been described as "absolutely amazing".

Archaeologists at the site near Lincoln have unearthed an extremely rare wooden bowl and a stone tablet.

About 20 people have been digging at the site since November and have uncovered more than 10,000 items.

Prehistoric huts found at Rueter-Hess site

A team of archaeologists looking for historical artifacts at the Rueter-Hess Reservoir construction site has found traces of huts used by nomadic tribes up to 5,000 years ago.
Centennial Archaeology Inc., an archaeological surveyor out of Fort Collins last month found "shallow, basin-type structures" five feet below the ground's surface, said Chris Zier, owner of the company.
The "saucer-shaped depressions," which are roughly 3 to 3.5 meters in diameter, were dug by tribes and covered by a crude brush structure made of sticks and other natural materials, he said.

Ancient burial boat unearthed

A joint Australian-Vietnamese archaeological team has unearthed a well-preserved burial boat belonging to the Dong Son culture that resided in the Red River region around 100BC.

The boat was discovered at Dong Xa Village in Kim Dong District in the northern province of Hung Yen during the team’s recent excavations investigating Dong Son textiles at waterlogged sites.

Members of the team regard it as an important find and, according to Professor Peter Bellwood of Australian National University, it may be the oldest existing log canoe in southeast Asia.

Archaeologists discover 6000-year-old rocky habitation in Jiroft region

Iranian archaeologists recently discovered a 6000-year-old rocky habitation with more than 800 cells in the Barez Mountains, east of the Halil-Rud River in southern Kerman Province, the director of the archaeological team working in the Halil-Rud River area said on Wednesday.

“The rocky village is located at a height of 250 meters with two and four square meter cells. The habitation is Iran’s most ancient rock residence ever discovered,” Davud Abyan added.

The Jiroft region was one of the first places where civilization and urbanization were established.

The return of. . .Gladiator

Gladiators- more showbusiness than slaughter

HEROIC fights to the death between enslaved gladiators never happened, according to a controversial new theory.

The research, which disputes images of ancient combat such as those seen in the Russell Crowe epic Gladiator, suggests that the fighters of yore would have far more in common with the overblown histrionics of modern-day premier league footballers or WWE wrestlers: highly trained, overpaid and pampered professionals with throngs of groupies - and an interest in not getting too badly injured.

Research into medieval and renaissance combat manuals has led one classical scholar to suggest that gladiatorial fighting had become more of a martial art at the beginning of the first millennium, a report in New Scientist reveals.

We've heard this before, that the traditional thumbs up/thumbs down shtick seen in movies was only occasionally done.

Neat news Anthropologists find 4.5 million-year-old hominid fossils in Ethiopia

Scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and seven other institutions have unearthed skeletal fossils of a human ancestor believed to have lived about 4.5 million years ago. The fossils, described in this week's Nature (Jan. 20), will help scientists piece together the mysterious transformation of primitive chimp-like hominids into more human forms.

The fossils were retrieved from the Gona Study Area in northern Ethiopia, only one of two sites to yield fossil remains of Ardipithecus ramidus.

"A few windows are now opening in Africa to glance into the fossil evidence on the earliest hominids," said IUB paleoanthropologist Sileshi Semaw, who led the research.

For those with subscriber access, the paper is here. Abstract:

Comparative biomolecular studies suggest that the last common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, lived during the Late Miocene–Early Pliocene1, 2. Fossil evidence of Late Miocene–Early Pliocene hominid evolution is rare and limited to a few sites in Ethiopia3-5, Kenya6 and Chad7. Here we report new Early Pliocene hominid discoveries and their palaeoenvironmental context from the fossiliferous deposits of As Duma, Gona Western Margin (GWM), Afar, Ethiopia. The hominid dental anatomy (occlusal enamel thickness, absolute and relative size of the first and second lower molar crowns, and premolar crown and radicular anatomy) indicates attribution to Ardipithecus ramidus. The combined radioisotopic and palaeomagnetic data suggest an age of between 4.51 and 4.32 million years for the hominid finds at As Duma. Diverse sources of data (sedimentology, faunal composition, ecomorphological variables and stable carbon isotopic evidence from the palaeosols and fossil tooth enamel) indicate that the Early Pliocene As Duma sediments sample a moderate rainfall woodland and woodland/grassland.

Wine at the farm

Five wine presses surrounded the farmhouse, built in the third century BCE, on land between what today is Moshav Gan Sorek and the Tel Aviv-Ashdod highway.
The house had a few wings and an area of about 1,230 square meters (13,200 square feet). The quantities of wine produced in the five presses was more than required by those who lived there, meaning that the farm residents earned their livelihood from producing wine in commercial quantities. The wine apparently was produced for export and was shipped to Mediterranean countries via the nearby port at Yavne Yam (today Kibbutz Palmahim).

Okay, we're going to post this before Mr. Computer decides to crash again. . . . .